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"Pink isn't a color. It's a lifestyle." - Chumbalaya
"...generalship should be informing list building." - Sir Biscuit
"I buy models with my excess money" - Valkyrie whilst a waitress leans over him

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Armies in 5th: Basics Part 8: Summary & Flexibility

My final post on basics for 5th and shockingly it’s a joint concept! If you’ve been following these posts closely you’ll notice something that seems common throughout them all. Give yourself options. The more flexibility in your army list, deployment, movement and assault, the more likely you are to have the tools for the job and therefore win. I recall seeing a game of Orks versus mech Eldar. The Eldar player wasn’t fantastic (sorry Gwar! Lol) but because his army list has so much more mobility and synergy, he nearly tabled the Ork player. This is what these previous posts are all about. Bringing the tools for any job.

When you have a flexible army, you can create a flexible battle plan. Whilst the old saying is quite true in that no plan survives contact with the enemy, having a battle plan is important. This gives your deployment and initial turns some sense of coherency rather than willy nilly killing (or failing at killing). When this battle plan can undergo infinite changes and adaptations, you’re in the drivers seat. By following the concepts I’ve lain down before in these articles, you should be able to have this flexibility built into your army and its inherent concept. If not, go back and keep reading until it does!

Once you’ve got the flexible army you’ve got a one-up on the armies that don’t but you still need to apply it correctly. Without having a lynchpin (or doubling up the lynchpin) your army is capable of operating at any point of the game. Let’s look at a 3xDread/Speeder Squad/Tacs/Pred army @ 1750. This army has no clear cut priority targets and every unit can threaten you in some fashion. You now need to apply your deployment, movement, shooting and assault flexibility to gain the most from your army but what happens when it all goes to the crapper? Your opponent gets lucky or you just screw up in some way and you’ve got minimal chance to win.

This comes down to monitoring the flow of the game and knowing what your units are capable of (including your opponent’s). If my opponent gets a lucky round of shooting in, I have to know when it’s still okay to make a push, hold or fall back. If your army completely falls apart sometimes the gamble is worth it but other times, if you gamble too early, you give up the flexibility you have left. Flexibility isn’t about slugging matches, it’s about being able to adapt on the go. Forfeit objectives or sacrifice units to make your opponent think you’re still after that objective whilst securing other objectives. It comes down to taking the best your army has to offer and applying it on the table and this cannot often be taught. Whilst the flow of the game is generally easy to read (who controls midfield more? Who has more mobility or firepower left? Who’s dictating what is happening? Etc.), adapting to it, is not. A close game can have many momentum switches and you have to keep up with them cognitively. A good round of shooting can be followed by a poor combat backed up by a good round of shooting by your opponent but his combat also sucked, etc. Fail to capitalise on these changes or push too early and you’ll find your flexibility long gone.

Overall, these articles are not going to improve your gameplay significantly. They will however, improve how you think and go about a game. This is a game of plastic soldiers but it also requires some degree of mathematical competency, strategy and even psychology mixed in with a good dose of good nature and humor. Whilst we are not operating under the fog of war (gogo birds eye), we are all human and even the best of us curses our little 12mm dice for turning up snake eyes or pout when we have to remove out pretty models (hey. I’d pout if I ever had to take one of these off the table). These articles encourage you to think first, second and third. By having flexibility built into your lists and gameplan, you give yourself more options to apply your thinking. The only thing to do from there? Practice, practice and more practice. Practice of any army is good overall but practicing with one army will generate a proficiency with that army and playstyle.

Oh and have fun or something silly like that. Phaw!

2 pinkments:

Chumbalaya said...

It's always good to have options and contingencies. They may not be necessary every game, but it's important to have them when you need them.

Venerable Brother said...

Good read dude.
Whole series has been.
Its all too easy to take a one-trick-pony army apart when that key unit/s go down. This is boring - the more the community in general raises the bar by becoming more adaptive and flexible the better.
You are spot on in that you have to know what the enemy units are capable of and adapt to that.
I generally don't have a plan until I see what I'm facing, then formulate on the fly before game starts.
In this manner, I never have any truly fixed ideas of what each unit should be doing (except of course as dictated to by their wargear/weaponry etc)...a unit that acts as deep stike defense one game may be a sacrifice the next.
Adapt or Die.

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